Another ugly loss for the Washington Football Team creates more doubt and confusion

Fresh off their bye week, the Washington Football Team looked to gain some revenge in their Week 9 contest with the New York Giants. The Giants defeated Washington 20-19 in their earlier meeting, a game that Washington could have won if not for two turnovers by quarterback Kyle Allen. On paper, this home game for Washington provided the backdrop for victory and a chance to gain ground in the dreadful NFC East division.

Unfortunately, this game became a carbon copy of Washington’s first meeting with New York. The Giants emerged with a 23-20 victory that earned them a sweep of the season series. Giants’ quarterback Daniel Jones has been known for committing frustrating turnovers during his brief two year career. On this day, he committed zero turnovers and threw a touchdown pass to tight end Evan Engram that helped provide the margin of victory.

As for Washington, injury and turnovers supported another lackluster performance. Allen suffered a dislocated ankle on a hit by Giants’ safety Jabril Peppers in the first quarter, effectively ending the Washington quarterback’s 2020 season. Veteran quarterback Alex Smith entered the game, and fared no better. He threw three interceptions, coupled with lost fumbles by Washington running back Antonio Gibson and punt returned Isaiah Wright. Those miscues added up to five turnovers, making things difficult for Washington to win this game.

It was a bad loss for Washington, as they squandered an opportunity to move up within their division. However, they wake up Monday morning still within striking distance of the Philadelphia Eagles, who enjoyed the bye week along with their 3-4-1 record. At 2-6, Washington can actually still win the division, considering they’ve already beaten the Eagles this season.

But they can’t afford too many more losses. The Giants are 2-7 and can leapfrog Washington at any time due to their season sweep of Washington. The Dallas Cowboys are also 2-7, employing their third quarterback of the season, Garrett Gilbert. The 2-6 Washington Football Team can be relegated to the NFC East cellar at a moment’s notice if they keep giving games away.

There’s no time to dwell on that now. Washington has to prepare for a Week 10 road game with the Detroit Lions in their efforts to strive for improvement. They have seven more games to try to figure out if they’re in rebuilding mode, or they’re trying to win the dreadful NFC East.

What will a Joe Biden presidency mean for Black America?

Former vice president Joe Biden became President elect Joe Biden as he defeated incumbent President Donald J. Trump in the 2020 Presidential election. It was a hotly contested election that reached its end four days after the November 3rd election after several battleground states continued to count mail in ballots.

Trump won’t go out without a fight, as the President refuses to concede the election to Biden. He plans to file several lawsuits urging recounts in states like Pennsylvania and Georgia, states that Biden either won or had a strong lead in efforts to move closer to the required 270 electoral votes to win the Presidential election.

However, the question remains what a Biden presidency means for Black America. Georgia and Pennsylvania have large Black populations, particularly in the cities of Atlanta, Georgia and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Many mail in ballots for Biden came from these cities, allowing Biden to forge ahead of the President in the election after he initially trailed the President in these states. It can be reasoned that Black Americans paved the road for Biden to win the election.

Biden has maintained that he will institute policies to help the Latino and LGBTQ communities. However, he hasn’t mentioned specific policies that will help the Black community. Biden and Vice President elect Kamala Harris vow to become an administration for all Americans. On paper that sounds extremely reasonable.

However, these are not reasonable times we’re living in. 2020 became a year that strained racial tensions between Black Americans and other ethnic groups. The consciousness brought upon America due to the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd have created a feeling of despair and hopelessness amongst Black Americans regarding their own survival. Calls to defund some American police departments have caused a nationwide stir. These calls for defunding are the result of the negligence and/or insidiousness of certain police departments that allow the wanton murder of Black Americans with impunity.

It’s time for Black America to remind Biden that he needs to enact policies that severely punish law enforcement officers that wantonly kill Black people. In addition, Black Americans should push President elect Biden to draft a bill awarding Black Americans reparations for slavery. Urging President elect Biden to address and enact policies to address the aforementioned will go a long way towards solidifying his claim as an actual President for all Americans.

Washington Football Team turning to veteran quarterback is the right decision

Washington Football Team head coach Ron Rivera has decided to name quarterback Kyle Allen the Week Five starter against the Los Angeles Rams. This effectively ends the starting quarterback regime of second year quarterback Dwayne Haskins, who has been demoted to third string behind veteran quarterback Alex Smith.

Rivera’s decision has sent waves of frustration and disappointment through Washington’s fan base. Haskins was the team’s first round pick in 2019, and was looked upon as the future of the franchise. Unfortunately, Washington’s record is 1-3, with Haskins playing poorly over the first quarter of the season.

Haskins has thrown for four touchdowns and three interceptions so far. However, he ranks last in the NFL in total quarterback rating, as well as 27th in completion percentage (61 percent). Reasons for his struggles include a subpar offensive line, few proven offensive playmakers outside of wide receiver Terry McLaurin, and a lack of regular offseason and practice time due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Regardless, the NFL is a results league, and Haskins hasn’t played well enough to justify his starting status in Rivera’s estimation.

Allen and Smith are not long term solutions at quarterback for Washington. Allen played for Rivera when both were members of the Carolina Panthers, so he’s familiar with Rivera’s system. Smith was Washington’s starter in 2018, and actually help stake the team to a 6-2 record that year until he suffered a broken leg that threatened to end his NFL career. While Smith’s recovery and return is nothing short of miraculous, he is only on the roster to provide depth at the quarterback position.

Benching Haskins right now is the right decision because he’s not ready to lead the Washington offense. The best case scenario is that Haskins makes the best of the practice squad reps he’ll receive in 2020, comes back in 2021 to earn the starting position.

Allen is seasoned enough to help Washington win games now, which could be the reason Rivera benched Haskins. Washington is only a half game out of first place in the dreadful NFC East, with their only victory actually coming at the expense of the division leading Philadelphia Eagles. Inserting Allen now is a low risk proposition because if he fails, Rivera can claim that 2020 is a rebuilding year with winning not being a top priority. With the division being up for grabs, why not insert Allen and make a run for the division title?

As for Haskins, maybe he can be Washington’s quarterback of the future one day. At 23 years of age, he has enough time to eventually become Washington’s franchise quarterback. For now, it’s best for him to somehow embrace his third string role in an effort to become a better quarterback.

Presidential debate debacle provides a few benefits

President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden participated in their first of three presidential candidate debates on September 29 in Cleveland. Their much anticipated debate sent waves of disappointment and despair amongst many Americans.

Trump and Biden used personal attacks to disparage each other, with Biden at one point telling the President to “shut up” during the debate. It wasn’t America’s proudest moment, with two septuagenarians acting like a pair of three year old children crying for their juice boxes.

The debate’s most interesting moment came when debate moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News Channel asked Trump about denouncing white supremacy. This question comes in the wake of several racial equality protests across America over the past year. Trump not only refused to denounce white supremacy, he gave an order of “stand by” to the Proud Boys, an organization created to reinforce white supremacist values with the threat of deadly force.

While some may see that moment as the debate’s lowest point, it also serves as an opportunity to galvanize support for each candidate. Trump’s commitment to white supremacy provides undeniable verification that America doesn’t value all of her citizens. It also can serve as a catalyst for Americans that want to elect a candidate like Biden whose views aren’t nearly as extreme. In any event, the battle lines have been drawn, making this presidential campaign one of the more polarizing campaigns we have ever seen.

Washington’s release of Adrian Peterson solidifies commitment to rebuild

On Friday, the Washington Football Team shocked its legions of fans by releasing veteran running back Adrian Peterson. Peterson has amassed a Hall of Fame career during his thirteen year NFL career, and he still was playing at a reasonably high level during his two years in Washington. Apparently that wasn’t enough for Washington, who released the 35 year old running back.

The move signifies the team’s commitment to younger players. Earlier this summer, Washington released running back Derrius Guice, who was thought to be the future at the position for the franchise. However, Guice’s injury history, as well as his recent off field allegations, made him expendable. Peterson’s departure leaves the door open for a new crop of running backs to make their respective marks.

Veterans J.D. McKissic and Peyton Barber signed with Washington during the 2020 offseason. The team drafted Antonio Gibson in 2020. Bryce Love has been on Washington’s practice squad, and has yet to play in an NFL game for Washington. McKissic is mostly a reserve running back and can’t be expected to be thrust into the featured back role. Barber’s best year was 2018 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he rushed for 871 yards in 16 starts. It’s possible he might become the featured back. Gibson and Love are unproven and will have to show they can handle the workload when their opportunities are presented to them.

Head coach Ron Rivera and team president Jason Wright have been entrusted with rebuilding Washington. Releasing Peterson shows their commitment to giving opportunities to young and unheralded players. That said, Washington’s offense could be one of the worst in the NFL in 2020. The only proven offensive commodity is second year wide receiver Terry McLaurin. If opposing defenses double team McLaurin, there aren’t many proven offensive options for quarterback Dwayne Haskins. Nevertheless, Washington fans will have to grin and bear the loss of Peterson, and the offensive struggles that will come with it.

Jacob Blake shooting should only reinforce resolve of Black Lives Matter movement

Unfortunately there has been another police involved shooting of an unarmed black American citizen. Kenosha, Wisconsin is a city located almost equidistant between Chicago and Milwaukee. On Sunday night 29 year old Jacob Blake was on a Kenosha street breaking up a fight between two women. Kenosha police were alerted to a domestic violence in the area. They arrived on scene, and that’s when the incident escalated.

Blake was shot in the back seven times after he was seen walking away from police towards his own car. The bullets severed Blake’s spinal cord and shattered his vertebrae. As of press time, the officers involved have not been charged. But the most heartbreaking aspect is that the incident allegedly took place in front of Blake’s children, aged 8,5, and 3, who were in the car.

There’s so much to unpack here. This latest incident has sparked yet another night of civil unrest that’s become common since the George Floyd murder. The “Blue Lives Matter” crowd will of course support law enforcement’s version of the incident. They’ll say “If Blake would have complied with the officers’ orders, he’d be alive today.” Blake’s non compliance did not constitute his being shot seven times.

Make no mistake: those officers meant to kill Blake. You don’t shoot an unarmed person in the back seven times without any intent to kill. Those officers weren’t in any danger. At worst, Blake’s non compliance should have resulted in a safe apprehension by police. Instead, those officers meant to make Jacob Blake another hashtag of another dead Black citizen that ran afoul of police. And if this incident really occurred in front of Blake’s young children, that only exacerbates the savagery of the officers involved. Those seven shots could have hit any of those children.

There’s no convincing that those officers meant to kill Jacob Blake. By the grace of God, Blake will survive the shooting. Unfortunately, he will be paralyzed from the waist down, unsure if he’ll ever be able to walk again. Hopefully this incident will lead to the indictment, charges, conviction, and harsh sentencing of the officers involved. There’s no justification for what happened in Kenosha that day. Now let’s see if the Kenosha district attorney’s office will do the right thing and bring about charges, an eventual conviction, and the harsh punishment necessary.

Washington president hiring is not about tokenism

Washington’s NFL team has taken another step towards revamping its frayed image. The franchise hired Jason Wright as its team president. Wright becomes the first black NFL team president in league history. It can be reasoned that Washington’s franchise hired Wright to distance themselves from the team’s previous nickname. However, that is far from the truth.

Wright was a former NFL player with three teams from 2004 to 2010. He earned an MBA from the University of Chicago, and was a partner at consulting firm McKinsey & Company. Those facets of Wright’s resume transcend his race and qualifies him for Washington’s team president position.

Even if the Wright hiring was racially motivated, it wouldn’t matter in Washington’s case. The franchise is currently devoid of respectability due to its mediocre status. Washington needs something to liven things up and drive the franchise in the right direction.

Wright has an uphill battle facing him. The 2020 season has Washington rebuilding with young players like quarterback Dwayne Haskins, wide receiver Terry McLaurin, and rookie defensive end Chase Young. Further complicating matters is the cancer diagnosis of head coach Ron Rivera. Rivera says the cancer is in its early stages and can be treated in time to not interfere with his coaching duties.

Turning Washington around won’t happen overnight. However, the hiring of Wright as team president shows a commitment from team owner Daniel Snyder to turning around the franchise. Washington’s fans hope the Wright hiring moves the franchise back towards respectability.

Alex Smith’s return should be a bigger story

Washington Redskins’ quarterback Alex Smith was removed from the NFL’s physically unable to perform (PUP) list last week. Smith’s career was believed to be finished after suffering a spiral and compound fracture to his right tibia and fibula during a November 2018 game against the Houston Texans. Smith had 17 surgeries on his right leg, and was even close to having his leg amputated. He is now cleared to participate in team activities, completing a comeback that is nothing short of miraculous.

For any other team, Smith’s return to the Redskins would be the lead story on SportsCenter. However, this is the NFL team with the formerly detestable nickname. Therefore, such accolades will never be afforded to them. Smith’s return is a special case. His career has been a testament to resiliency. A former number one overall pick by the San Francisco 49ers in 2005, Smith was eventually replaced by quarterback Colin Kaepernick (yes, that Colin Kaepernick) in 2012. Smith went to the Kansas City Chiefs in 2013, and was replaced by Patrick Mahomes before the 2018 season.

It can be reasoned that replacing Smith with Kaepernick and Mahomes respectively were the correct decisions. Kaepernick led the 49ers to the Super Bowl after the 2012 season. Mahomes led Kansas City to their first Super Bowl title in 50 years after the 2019 season. Smith eventually signed with Washington before the 2018 season after quarterback Kirk Cousins left Washington to sign with the Minnesota Vikings.

Many forget that Washington was 6-3 and in first place in the NFC East at the time of Smith’s injury in 2018. If Smith hadn’t been injured, Washington would have made the playoffs that year. Smith provided stability to the quarterback position. His nearly 2 to 1 touchdown to interception ratio solidified the Redskins’ offense. After he went down, Washington won only one of its remaining seven games while missing the playoffs for the third straight year.

Fast forward to 2020. Washington’s quarterback position is firmly in the hands of second year starter Dwayne Haskins. Smith would surely solidify the team’s depth behind Haskins and veteran Kyle Allen. It would be best if Smith never saw the field in 2020. That means Haskins is healthy and is contributing to Washington’s on field improvement. In any case, Smith should be commended for taking the necessary steps to get back on the field, as well as live a normal life again. And that’s the true definition of resilience.

Symbolic nomination not enough in Presidential election

The suspense is over. Presidential candidate Joe Biden has chosen his running mate in his quest for the White House. He has selected California junior governor Kamala Harris as his running mate in the upcoming Presidential election against incumbent Donald Trump on November 3.

Harris began her own campaign for the presidency in January 2019 before ending her bid later that year due to insufficient funding. There was some apparent bad blood between Biden and Harris during a June 2019 Democratic presidential candidate debate. Harris prefaced her statement with “I know Joe Biden isn’t racist.” She then criticized the former vice president to President Barack Obama of opposing a 1970s busing program that would prevented her from attending racially segregated schools. Harris made it personal by saying “That little girl was me”. It was a moment meant to pull at the heartstrings of America’s psyche.

Whether or not that was accomplished is irrelevant now. Harris becomes the first black woman to run for vice president within the two major political parties. Such a symbolic gesture isn’t enough in current society. Barack Obama became the first black man to become President in 2008. Yet black Americans were being wantonly killed at the hands of law enforcement and private citizens with impunity during the Obama administration.

A premium has been placed on going out to vote. However, getting out to vote makes no difference if the candidates don’t stand on a platform worth voting for. The Biden/Harris ticket has refused to grant reparations to the descendants of black American slaves. Black America sees that as a collective disrespectful slap in the face.

The Biden/Harris ticket is pro law enforcement, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. The question now remains what is their stance on prosecuting cops that wantonly kill private citizens? As of this writing, the Louisville police officers involved in the death of Breonna Taylor have not been charged. And accountability is nowhere near enough. These cops need to be charged, convicted, and sentenced to either lengthy prison sentences or the death penalty.

There needs to be a standard set that officers will be punished for wantonly killing private citizens. It will be interesting to hear how the Biden/Harris ticket responds to this particular concern.

But I digress. The 2020 election, like any other election, is about core values. Americans vote based on personal interests. Whichever candidate vows to give tangibles to a particular voting block will receive that block’s vote. Voting Biden/Harris because Harris is black is not nearly enough. Where does this ticket stand on the issues that matter most is enough. Black America has less than three months to find out.

Veterans and rookies get chance to shine after Derrius Guice debacle

Washington’s NFL team released running back Derrius Guice after he was arrested amidst domestic violence allegations. Head coach Ron Rivera said it was a tough decision considering Guice’s role in the organization. The plan was to make Guice the team’s starter and franchise running back. He has a seductive blend of power and speed that offenses crave, and would have fit well into Washington’s plans.

That plan never materialized. Guice suffered a torn left ACL during the preseason of his rookie year in 2018. The injury forced Guice to miss the entire season. In 2019, Guice suffered a sprained left MCL during a game against the Green Bay Packers. Injuries have limited Guice to only five games in two years. That sample size is too small for Guice to establish any sort of presence in Washington’s backfield.

It’s unclear if Guice’s injury history or these current allegations led to his release. None of that matters as Washington moves forward with their current crop of running backs. Veteran Adrian Peterson will be the team’s unquestioned starter. Peterson is a future Hall of Famer who’s rejuvenated his career in Washington. At 35 years of age, Peterson can’t be expected to fit into Washington’s long term plans at running back.

Supporting Peterson in the backfield will be veterans J.D. McKissic and Peyton Barber. Both are expected to provide depth at the position after signing as free agents during the offseason. Bryce Love and 2020 draft pick Antonio Gibson will also figure prominently at running back as well. Love has breakaway speed that can translate into big play potential. Gibson can also play wide receiver, providing versatility that can keep opposing defenses on their toes.

Guice’s release won’t hurt Washington as 2020 is a rebuilding year under a new regime. Washington fans hope McKissic, Barber, Love, and Gibson will be able to take advantage of the opportunities presented behind Peterson. If they can, the team’s offense will be that much improved.